This summer, 62 students attended the IRC in New Jersey’s first Refugee Youth Summer Academy (RYSA) from August 1, 2016 to August 17, 2016. RYSA was hosted at Kean University’s Human Rights Institute where students were divided into four classrooms based on rising grade level (K – 1, 2 – 4, 5 – 7, and 8 -12).

Children participate in the NJ RYSA program in 2016
Children participate in the New Jersey Refugee Youth Summer Academy in 2016.
Photo: IRC

Prior to the start of the program, IRC conducted a four-day training with ESL Lead Teachers, and over ten volunteer support staff. Staff and volunteer training focused on preparing everyone to apply best practices for working with refugee youth in an academic setting. Throughout the program, students participated in ESL enrichment lessons, as well as origami with an art therapist and storytelling activities with a filmmaker.

Students were transported to and from the program by school bus and explored the Liberty Science Center each Friday during the program. On August 17, 2016 parents were invited to attend the RYSA graduation where each class presented projects they worked on throughout the program.